University Safety and Assurances

How to Obtain a Safety Data Sheet (SDS)


General Information


Anyone at UWM may request a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) (formerly referred to as a Material Safety Data Sheet or MSDS) at any time from the UWM Department of University Safety and Assurances (US&A). We maintain an inventory of all SDSs received in our department to date. We encourage all campus departments to send us copies of their SDSs.

US&A also subscribes to a large database of commercial and pure chemical SDSs, and we track current locations of SDS databases available via the Internet.

In the event that University Safety and Assurances is not available at the time that you need the SDS, several good sources of SDSs are available on the Web.

Direct web access to the manufacturers or the above web-based databases cuts out the printing and faxing steps and, hopefully, the web sites will be more readily available than we are at certain times. The negatives of web-based SDS information is the variety and unfamiliarity of the different sites. Unless you have someone who accesses these sites occasionally, finding exactly the right SDS may be problematic and time-consuming.

In a medical emergency, the manufacturer of the chemical must make information available to the treating physician. Most SDS providers can fax the most current SDS to you in a short amount of time. The rate limiting step in this option is getting the phone number of the provider.

Problems can occur if the call is after normal business hours for the manufacturer. Finding the phone number of the chemical provider becomes the rate-limiting step sometimes. Purchasing can help provide vendor phone numbers (if the vendor name is even known), plus the Web has good search engines for business phone numbers.

We suggest that you consider your procedures carefully and determine the best way to get the information you need quickly and reliably.

Other options also exist if your needs are enough to warrant a larger expenditure of money. Let us know if we can provide any further information regarding chemical hazard communication.


Web-Based SDS Collections

US&A has collected a wide variety of links to Web-based SDS collections. Two of the best sources of SDS on the Web include:

Additional SDS Collections:

Manufacturer/Distributor SDS Links:

Other Chemical Hazard Information Sources: